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Come and join The Comms Hive

There’s a buzz in the air and it’s the sound of a new network forming. The Comms Hive is the brainchild of Comms pro Advita Patel and I think it’s a marvellous idea.

I invited Advita to answer my questions so you can discover what’s happening and how you can get involved. Apologies to my non-UK based readers, this is a UK-based initiative, but never say never – it has the potential to be global in my opinion.

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Advita has worked within internal communications for the past 14 years in various industries including Healthcare, Education and Transport. In late 2017 she took the decision to leave permanent employment to head up comms on a project within the nuclear industry and to start work on her own consultancy, CommsRebel.

Advita has a wealth of experience within the IC sector and specialises in areas such as Employee Engagement, Change and Transformational comms, particularly in large organisations with a remote workforce.

She is the Chair for the CIPR Inside committee and she was also named on the Northern Power Future List for her contribution to the work she has done within communications in 2018. She’s passionate about helping people and organisations be the best they possibly can be and as a trained coach/mentor she often mentors people who need some support in their career. She regularly shares her insights, thoughts and musings on her blog icwords.com or you can catch her on Twitter @advita_p.

Here’s our conversation…

So Advita, what is The Comms Hive?

It’s dinner in a private dining space with middle to senior level comms professionals who want to meet and chat to other like-minded people about comms life.

Why did you set it up?

After spending many hours at various events and having snatched conversations with my peers during a quick coffee break or lunch, I really wished I could spend more time catching up properly as it was always rushed. I regularly meet my comms friends for dinners and I realised that some of my best ideas come to me when I’m having a relaxed chat with these fabulous people, especially where there is no agenda or time restrictions.

Why The Comms Hive?

I named this event ‘The Comms Hive’ during a drink with the wonderful Bridget Aherne. I was explaining the concept to her and she mentioned the word hive – and that’s where The Comms Hive was born, in Cheetham Hill at Costa Coffee!

I also love that ‘The Comms Hive’ gives a nod to the Manchester Bee, which is a symbol that means quite a lot to the people in Manchester.

Who is the event aimed at?

It’s predominately aimed at middle to senior level in-house colleagues and comms practitioners who work independently as I feel there is a gap in the market for these levels. From my experience, people who have worked in the industry for a number of years tend to miss out on having conversations that are more meaningful for them.

From the conferences / events I’ve attended recently the conversation is very much tactical, which is absolutely fine, but it can be challenge for example when you’re looking for advice on more long-term strategies or senior leadership concerns. Also sometimes you just want to have a chat with someone who has been there and can relate with what you are saying without the sales pitch or death by PowerPoint.

What’s the cost?

It’s a non-profit event so just the cost of dinner which ranges from £30 to £50 a head depending on the area plus any drinks and tips on the night.

Why should people come along?

As I said before most of my best ideas and thoughts have come to me during a chat whilst having dinner or a coffee so I want to try and make sure others experience that as well. It’s also an opportunity to meet with people that you may never have crossed paths with before and hopefully make some really good connections/friends. As much as I love social networks and online chat, sometimes you can’t beat a good old fashioned face-to-face conversation.

Where are these events taking place?

Initially I was just going to host them in Manchester, UK, as I felt there wasn’t really anything happening here. But I then received quite a few messages from others so decided to expand to other towns and cities.

Unfortunately Manchester is now fully booked, but there are some places left for London which is 15 May 2019. I’ll also be announcing dates for Cardiff, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds very soon.

How can people find out more information?

They can drop me an email at thecommshive@gmail.com or they can follow on Twitter @thecommshive.

Thank you Advita.

I love this idea. You can find out more about Advita by following her on Twitter @advita_p, visiting her blog or reading her Top Tips for Public Speaking article on my blog.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the London date as I will be across the pond for a one-off trip. Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m not travelling for the foreseeable future due to family reasons.

However, I will be the opening keynote speaker at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Employee Communications Section Conference on 15 May 2017. Connect19 is taking place in Phoenix, Arizona and I’m looking forward to listening to and learning from other Comms pros.

Will you be there?

See the PRSA website for full information and to book your tickets.

Talking of the US, I participated in a live webinar last week hosted by Chuck Gose @ChuckGose and the Bananatag team. It focused on all things internal communications planning and was an hour-long conversation between Chuck, Daniel Penton, Pinaki Kathiari and I.

You can watch the replay online if you missed it.

Thank you for stopping by

Rachel.

First published on the All Things IC blog 26 February 2019.

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